Court of International Trade denies U.S. request to dismiss CITA case
The U.S. Court of International Trade in New York has denied a motion by the U.S. Justice Department to dismiss a complaint brought by the United States Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel (USA-ITA) against the consideration of threat-based China textile safeguards by the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA).
A preliminary injunction by Judge Richard W. Goldberg that halted the issuance of such safeguards remains in force.
The court also ordered the government to file its answer to USA-ITA's complaint by April 15.
In its decision, the Court of International Trade rejected all of the government's jurisdictional challenges to USA-ITA's complaint, and deferred consideration of the government's assertions that USA-ITA failed to state claims for which relief may be provided by the court.
On those substantive challenges, namely, whether CITA is subject to procedural requirements such as giving notice before changing its rules and whether CITA has authority to consider China safeguards, the court said more 'fulsome development' of the evidence and legal arguments was necessary. The court suggested that could occur either through a trial or through motions for summary judgment.
Some highlights of the Court’s decision:
The court has jurisdiction over challenges to CITA actions.
USA-ITA’s claims are ripe for judicial review because they challenge whether CITA exceeded its authority by considering China textile safeguards and whether CITA failed to follow proper procedures. The court emphasized that CITA’s final substantive decisions on each safeguard request are not at issue in this case.
The Court noted that it remains unconvinced that the government will suffer “any significant cognizable harm” if judicial resolution is pursued now — because CITA still has the ability to address actual market disruption.
USA-ITA does not have to exhaust administrative remedies to be in court for this challenge, the court noted. The only available remedy is CITA’s comment period and the Government “cannot seriously argue that requiring full participation in CITA’s administrative proceeding, the very legitimacy of which is at issue in this case, is appropriate,' the court said.
In addition, the Court of International Trade ordered USA-ITA and the government to hold a scheduling conference by April 29. If there is to be discovery, a discovery plan must be filed with the court by May 6.